My mother currently lives with my husband and me while she awaits placement in a retirement facility. While I view three days as my comfortable upper limit as either host or guest, we about to enter our third week with no specified end date which discomforts all three of us. Hosting a guest long-term challenges routines, down time, and privacy, especially important structures for introverts like my husband and I. Once again compassion presents itself as both my antidote and nemesis. I want to view myself, my mother, and my husband more softly. I intend to hold any residual hardness with softness as well. Yet I find compassion paradoxically elusive when I reach so far beyond my comfort zone. Possessing coping skills and tools only helps when you employ them constructively and consciously, not when you foster unrealistic self-expectations.
“Compassion: Heartfelt understanding of the human condition that encompasses the pain in oneself and others, dissolves judgment, and opens the way for acceptance.” While I’d love to claim mastery here I confess I feel stressed because I want to spare my mother from further pain which inevitably fails since I do not control what arises for her either externally or internally. Yet despite my equanimity with life’s ups and downs in general, when I fail to eliminate her suffering I tend to feel hard on myself. At these times I lean into the metta prayer line “May my heart remain open.” I also tap into my deep awareness of how every experience benefits our soul’s evolution.
“Compassion: Sincere desire to eliminate suffering.” During a judgment storm, the desire to eliminate suffering may elude you. I find it helpful to visualize holding a bouquet of hearts and roses, extending it to the world as well as myself. I also envision placing myself into my own heart, to make room for myself regardless of my state of mind. In Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) acupressure®, you can invite compassion with Safety Energy Locks 16 through 22, Organ Function Energies Gallbladder, Liver, and Heart, as well as the middle and pinkie finger self-helps.
Where could your compassion use some cultivating? How do you cope when judgment arises?
*The compassion quotes came from The Original Angel Card Book – Inspirational Messages and Meditations by Kathy Tyler and Joy Drake.